Plain-spoken Online Conversion Rate Newsletter - covering web design, sales, marketing, copywriting, usability, SEO, relationship marketing and consumer psychology.


What the Shareholders Don't Know 

Let's be honest - Martians have some stupid sayings.  Things like, "Green Is As Green Does" or "It's A Long Canal That Has No Water" or "Red Sky At Night, Red Sky Every Night."   What I really like about you guys is that your sayings make sense.  It's just that sometimes you don't use them in helpful ways.

Now that things seem to be turning around for the dot.coms after that horrible investment fiasco, folks are often tempted to say, "Leave Well Enough Alone," figuring "If It Ain't Broken, Don't Fix It."

Good advice, under certain circumstances. Thing is, there's a world of difference between things "not being broken" and running at peak efficiency.  

If you were to read all the self-congratulatory nonsense that is published by Internet marketers and industry executives, then you might think the industry has turned a corner and brighter days are in the offing.  Growth in consumer acceptance does wonders to cover up simple neglect.  But for how long?  What these guys forget is "A Stitch In Time Saves Nine."  If you aren't reaching for your needle and thread, then you're doomed to repeat history.  Online, the stitch that saves you time is attention to the persuasive architecture of your Web site.

Folks are beginning to focus attention on ebusiness profits and expenses, which is great, but 95% of companies surveyed indicate their top marketing priority is to direct better qualified traffic to their Web sites.  Huh?  So they won't buy, either?  Isn't that "Putting The Cart Before The Horse," which ends up being "Penny Wise And Pound Foolish?"  Understand that it's not the visitor's job to adapt to your Web site, but your job to design a Web site that successfully persuades your visitors and meets their needs.  "If The Mountain Won't Come to Mohammed, Then Mohammed Must Go To The Mountain. "  

From a more scientific study eMarketer reported the following:

"Q: What is your company's primary interactive marketing business objective?
A: 23% - Don't know.

Q: Channels for which US marketers have no measurement tools in place?
A: E-mail 60%, Online excluding email 56%."

It really is true:  "A Fool And His Money Are Soon Parted!"   Tell me.  How do you test, measure and optimize Web sites that have been built without clear business objectives?  How do you even know what's happening if you don't measure it?  Some companies have tried increasing their conversion rates by redesigning, by employing usability testing, and by actively testing their merchandizing mix.  But really, far too few are scientifically testing the thousands of variables that affect conversion.   Every hyperlink, pixel, and word either enhances or detracts from a website's ability to convert.  Wouldn't it make sense to know how to make it work better?

The nature of the Internet is that, with few exceptions, no visitor is forced to do business on your website. "You Can Lead A Horse To Water But You Can't Make It Drink.   However, it makes more sense to persuade it rather than simply hope!  On the Internet if the visitor is not voluntarily participating from click to click you're "Up The Creek Without A Paddle."  Every hyperlink should be part of a well thought out persuasive script that adapts to the visitors' experience and expectations of relevance. Designing or redesigning a website with persuasive architecture is the antidote to the expensive habit of buying better qualified traffic.

Let me ask you this:  would you want to stand up and tell your shareholders that "What They Don't Know Won’t Hurt Them?"  Frankly, I don't want to be around when they wise up to the fact that all the data and skills to create persuasive websites are available, and folks aren't using them.  When they figure out that the myopia of expertise, the miscommunication of objectives and the ignorance of their managers is costing them a bundle, when they discover it's less expensive and more effective to design for conversion than to keep chasing after new and expensive prospects, it's probably a good idea to stand far away from the fan.

Or as we say on Mars, "A Purple-Crested Bloobulgubbler In The Hand Is Something You Can Really Do Without. "


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GROK is taken from the landmark novel "Stranger in a Strange Land", by Robert A. Heinlein. It is a Martian word that implies the presence of intimate and exhaustive knowledges-serif" and understanding. Our "GROK" is a keen observer of the world around him and he takes a particular interest in the World Wide Web. The folks at Future Now like him a lot because he's taught them that "sometimes the price of clarity is the risk of insult."

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